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Right Turn
Posted at 09:52 AM ET, 06/17/2011

Oh yes, it’s all about muscling Israel

Since last Sunday, I have been reporting on the Obama administration’s Israel policy: Spin American Jews and pressure Israel so President Obama is spared the discomfort of exercising a U.N. Security Council veto on Palestinian statehood. The administration and its eager-beavers in the left-wing blogosphere would rather talk about how enamored of Obama are some of the liberal American Jews who joined on a conference call with the White House. But the story is not about easily spun liberal Jews (that’s not news to anyone who knows American Jewish politics); it is about what the administration is up to.

The Wall Street Journal today confirms the facts brought forth last weekend by Eli Lake in the Washington Times and by the Right Turn, and which reverberated through the Jewish community this week in an AIPAC memo on the outrageousness of the “1967 borders with land swaps” that is the key element of Obama’s framework. The Journal reports that the squeeze Israel offensive is on:

The White House this week dispatched its top Middle East negotiators, Dennis Ross and David Hale, to the region to try to gain Israeli and Palestinian agreement to resume negotiations based on parameters President Barack Obama laid out last month, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.
Mr. Obama called for utilizing Israel’s borders before the 1967 Six-Day War as the base line for new talks, while recognizing the need for some territorial adjustments — a plan Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected.
The European Union’s foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, meanwhile, arrives in Jerusalem Friday to push an even more aggressive plan, according to European officials. [Emphasis added.]

The Journal, as Lake and I reported, explains that the Obama administration had to go on a PR offensive before departing on the trip to pressure Israel into accepting a plan already rejected by its prime minister:

In recent days, Mr. Obama has sought to build public support for his position on the peace process, which has been strongly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.
On June 10, the White House’s senior director for the Middle East, Steven Simon, told Jewish-American leaders that the international community had roughly a month to persuade Mr. Abbas to give up his campaign at the U.N., according to participants in the conference call. Mr. Simon said the Palestinians appeared “forthcoming” in responding to Mr. Obama’s calls for a resumption of negotiations based on the 1967 lines, but that Israel needed more convincing. Mr. Netanyahu has called Israel’s borders before the Six-Day War “indefensible.” In 2004, President George W. Bush signed a letter stating that the U.S. recognized some Jewish settlements in the West Bank would remain part of Israel as part of a broader peace agreement. Israeli officials have also said they shouldn’t be forced to give up bargaining chips ahead of any negotiations.
Israeli officials in recent days said the biggest issue preventing the resumption of peace talks is the political alliance Mr. Abbas forged last month with the militant Palestinian organization, Hamas, which both the U.S. and EU designate as a terrorist organization. Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he wouldn’t sit down with Mr. Abbas as long as the Palestinian leader is aligned with Hamas. Palestinian officials also offered limited optimism Thursday that peace talks would resume soon. They praised the parameters Mr. Obama laid down. But they stressed that Israel would also have to take other steps to underpin the peace process, such as halting any new construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, something Mr. Netanyahu has refused to do. [Emphasis added.]

Well, yes there it is. The administration went to a pre-selected group of friendly American Jews, confessed it had to muscle Israel, went out to spin up the left blogosphere (carefully avoiding foreign policy reporters who would ask impertinent questions), proceeded to strong-arm Israel over the objections of the Israeli prime minister and still leaves unanswered the question of how Israel is expected to sit down with the terrorist unity government. Well, if you read Right Turn, you already knew all that. For days.

By  |  09:52 AM ET, 06/17/2011

Categories:  American Jews, Media, Israel

 
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